The first time I can remember wanting to shop small was when I was 21 and my daughter was a baby. There was a new boutique in town, and was really out of my budget, but the clothes were so beautiful and unique. I wanted her to have the perfect outfit for pictures, so I looked in the clearance section until I found a beautiful dress.
Over the years, I have always been drawn to the small businesses in town, the ones that carried unique items or decor that couldn’t be found at Target. When shopping for gifts for my friends and family, I try to buy things that I know they don’t already have (because nothing is worse than someone getting two of the same gift for birthdays or Christmas – moms who shop for kids’ parties know that struggle!). I also love being able to support hardworking men and women in the US who make adorable products!
Moving beyond buying from boutiques and small shops locally, I started shopping on Etsy. If you’re unfamiliar, Etsy is a website where sellers can have their own virtual “shops” to display their products, often handmade. I’ve bought baby beanies, legwarmers, custom onesies, handmade jewelry, Father’s Day plaques, even home decor. With so much of the products sold in the US coming from China and other countries where work conditions are poor and dangerous chemicals may be used, it is important to me to support American creators and shop owners who comply with safety standards.
Recently, I was introduced to the world of brand repping (or brand reppin – to be discussed in a future post), which opened my eyes to so many more handmade shops! Bows and clothes and shoes and jewelry… Aren’s closet is almost 100% handmade and small shop items right now. I even have a handful of my own clothes that I’ve bought from small shops, and my older two kids as well. Not the husband though – he’s just too picky. You can read about how to become a brand rep from The Super Mom Life here.
One of the unforeseen results of shopping small is the friendships I have made in this community, both with rep moms and shop owners. I have become very close with some of my favorite shop owners, and have met a few of the ones who are local to me! I’d say it’s a similar feeling to having your favorite hair stylist who you visit each month, or the coffee shop owner who knows your order when you walk in the door. I don’t think you’re going to find that type of relationship at your closest big box store.
So when you’re looking for a unique gift, or an outfit for a special occasion, or if you just want to support moms and their dream business, you may want to shop small. Chances are, I can recommend a handful of amazing shops for you to check out (and often with a discount code to save you money too!) Here are a few of my favorites:
Ozark & Orchid (handmade vintage and classic clothing for baby/toddler boys and girls)
Ash & Aspens (handmade clothes for kids and moms)
Nayvie & Co (handmade bows)
Mae and Mum (loveys)
Willow and Hazel (vintage inspired clothes and bonnets for babes)
And sooo many others — too many to list!